Polly Holliday (Actress) - Alice
Polly Holliday 1
Updated: 2/16/21

Name: Polly Holliday

Birth Name: Polly Dean Holliday

Born: July 2, 1937 in Jasper, Alabama, USA

Nickname: Flo

Claim To Fame: Polly Holliday is an American actress who has appeared on stage, television and in film. She is best known for her portrayal of sassy waitress Florence Jean "Flo" Castleberry on the 1970s sitcom Alice, which she reprised in its short-lived spin-off, Flo. Her character's catchphrase of "Kiss my grits!" became the most memorable line associated with the series.

Family Life: Her marital status is not clearly known. Information about her family life doesn't appear to be public knowledge.

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Info: She's the daughter of Ernest Sullivan Holliday, a truck driver, and Velma Mabell Holliday.

She grew up in Childersburg and Sylacauga, where her brother Doyle's boyhood friend Jim Nabors lived.

Before acting, Holliday worked as a piano teacher in her native Alabama, and then in Florida.

She began her acting career as a member of the Asolo Theatre Company in Sarasota, Florida, where she stayed for 10 years.

Holliday is an Episcopalian who sang in the St. Andrews Episcopal Choir in Mobile, Alabama.

In New York City, she sang in the Grace Church (Episcopalian) Choral Society in Greenwich Village and ran a chamber music series there called the Willow Ensemble (1995-2008).

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Trivia: In 1973, Holliday moved to New York City and appeared in Alice Childress's play Wedding Band at the Public Theater. More than a year later, she was cast in the Broadway hit All Over Town.

While working on All Over Town, she befriended the play's director, Dustin Hoffman, who later worked with her on the 1976 movie All the President's Men.

In 1976, Holliday got her major break when she was cast as sassy, man-hungry waitress Flo Castleberry on the American sitcom Alice.

Her character coined the popular catchphrase "Kiss my grits!" and it became part of the American vocabulary.

Holliday starred in Alice from 1976 to 1980, and then moved to her own short-lived spin-off show, titled Flo, in which Flo left her residence in Arizona and moved back home. The show was successful during its abbreviated first season, but ratings declined during the following season due to a time change, and it was canceled in 1981.

She won 2 Golden Globes back to back (1979, 1980) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Television Series for Alice.

In 1983, Holliday joined the cast of the CBS-TV sitcom Private Benjamin as a temporary replacement for series regular Eileen Brennan, who was recovering from serious injuries after being struck by a car.

Holliday also made appearances on television shows such as The Golden Girls, where she played Rose Nylund's blind sister Lily, and had a recurring role as Jill Taylor's mother on Home Improvement.

Holliday's notable roles in films include All the President's Men, Moon Over Parador, Mrs. Doubtfire, the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap and her role as Mrs. Ruby Deagle in the 1984 hit Gremlins, for which she won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.

On the Broadway stage, she has appeared in revivals of Arsenic and Old Lace (1986) as Martha Brewster, one of the dotty, homicidal, sweet old aunties; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1990), for which she was nominated for a Tony for her portrayal of Big Mama; and Picnic (1994).

In 2000, she appeared at Lincoln Center in a revival of Arthur Laurents's The Time of the Cuckoo. And in the same year she was inducted into the Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame.

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Where Are They Now: Polly Holliday has be officially retired from the entertainment industry for over a decade. After a wonderful stage and screen career it is certainly well deserved - we hope she's enjoying every minute of it!


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